“We’re not doing a great job” – Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso on American soccer, pro/rel

Rocco Commisso [Photo: Steve Hamlin/TICC]

He may be the newest team owner in the NASL, but he’s one of the most opinionated on the most polarizing issue in American soccer.

At Cosmos Media Day, Rocco Commisso touched on the state of soccer in the United States, openly expressing his thoughts that the United States had peaked in soccer in 1930 and the setup for today’s game kept lower league title winners from being rewarded. It also prevented teams from spending money on building their rosters when moving to MLS.

Rocco was very clear on his thoughts on the US national team, who currently sit in last place in World Cup qualifying and are set to host Honduras this week before traveling to Panama for a match on Sunday.

“Today, we do not have a national team that I am proud of.”

Commisso noted that the last time the United States national team had made the semifinal round of the biggest stage of the world’s game had been the 1930 World Cup, the inaugural tournament. There, the US walked away with third place after taking their group and losing to Argentina in the semis. According to Commisso, it had all been downhill from there.

“So here we are, 80 years later, and we still haven’t had a team, a professional team, a professional, national team that could go out and say ‘We’re the top ten, the top five.’ I mean, what kind of crap is that?”

“Why do we have a semifinalist in 1930 and not one since?”

“I’ll give you another statistic. There’s been all kinds of World Cups. You know the games America’s won since 1930, in the World Cup competition? Six games,” he said, holding up six fingers. “That’s one game every fourteen years; I did the math.”

The United States went without a single appearance in the World Cup after 1950 until 1990, also withdrawing from the 1938 Cup. But, the point stands that in the other nine Cups they have appeared in, only 6 of the 30 games they have played have been logged as wins.

“Everybody’s bragging what a great job we’re all doing with American soccer. No. We’re not doing a great job.”

Commisso faulted the domestic structure and the buy-in into the top division as a major part of the failure at the national team level, with MLS requiring both a stadium plan (and investment into it) and a massive expansion fee to enter the top division of American soccer, as opposed to it being earned via promotion/relegation like most other soccer leagues of the world.

“Did anyone see the Minneapolis game where they lost 7-1 [scoreline was actually 6-1]? This is exactly what I’m talking about. Because they paid $100M with another $150M for the stadium, Minneapolis got to the MLS, right? Well, the Cosmos won the championship. In other countries, all over Europe, South America, so on, the Cosmos should be moving up to the MLS, not Minneapolis. I think Minneapolis was the eighth-ranked team in the MLS [NASL] last year, out of twelve; we were number one.”

“Let me just say this, that all the teams that made investments in Europe, including the most recent ones: the Chinese, the Indonesians, the Americans, and England and so on, that they all understood how the game was played. Nobody guaranteed that, as a result of making a multi-hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, like the guys trying to buy Milan, that they need not get relegated tomorrow.”

He also noted, that despite pro/rel not being implemented here, at least one owner of New York MLS team had benefited from the system elsewhere.

“The guy that bought the Red Bulls, he also has a team in Germany,” said the Cosmos owner, referring to RB Leipzig, who currently sit in second place in the Bundesliga. “Correct me if I’m wrong, did they move from the third to the second to the first division? Am I right? So it worked out very well. Why can’t it work the same here?”

“Well my opinion, my very strong opinion, that’s probably the number one reason why American soccer has failed professionally in this country,” said the man who is now arguably one of the most distinct voices in open support of pro/rel.

Commisso was aware of how his messaging would most likely be received.

“I’m not ready to really delve into this, because I’m sure, in less than 24 hours, all the shotguns will be after me.”

He also made mention that while there were others who wanted to “shut him down” he would, eventually, have his say on what the future of the sport should be in this country.

“I could go in and in. I know a lot of stuff I want to talk about, but not today. There are a lot of people out there that still want to shut me down.”

“I’ll protect the team, I’ll protect my reputation, but sooner or later, I will have my say as to what I see as the future of American soccer; professional, American soccer in this country.”



11 thoughts on ““We’re not doing a great job” – Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso on American soccer, pro/rel

  1. This guy needs to take his pills and he is as delusional as the old nasl commissioner.
    Im a cosmos fan, but I thought mr.rocco would Be a better communicator.
    If he is really serious, go to MLS, buy red bull, and make cosmos great again. Go get messi, cr7, and play in MLS.
    For now win nasl championships sir. By the way, if he is such a sports man then why not buy a ligamx or Italian team.
    God…… He is gonna suck cosmos again.

  2. his point is mls rules would prohibit acquiring Messi. full stop on real progress until mls rules are changed or we as fans just bypass the mls.

    USL games are free on youtube starting this Saturday.

  3. I think he’s right that pro/rel would improve the level of US soccer overall and that a more open structure like the rest of the world has would create more incentive for owners to invest in their teams. And also, we would get to watch the Cosmos in the first division too. I’m glad he’s speaking his mind, I like him.

  4. Pingback: New owner of the NY Cosmos speaks up for #ProRelForUSA – AmericanSoccer.tv

  5. Alright guys, MLS is 20 years old and the MLS is going versus the NFL, nba and nhl.
    They do care about the rest of the soccer leagues but the MLS is going versus American sport fans .
    Now about pro/reg in the US, it will work but the MLS needs about 36 teams and an MLS2 with around 22 teams. (Theres a lot of articles on line about how to make pro/reg work in the US and some make a lot of sense)
    The reality about pro/reg around the world is that it needs a shake up. In Mexico, division 2 got rebranded due to corruption and cheap owners. Argentina expanded their D1, and pretty much pro/reg in South America needs a new system. (Brazil has a pretty good system)
    In Europe pro/reg is king due to its huge soccer fan base but it’s sad that Europe leagues are ruled by The same old teams and that is why they need a new pro/reg system but also a simple playoff like MLS.
    In conclusion,Mexico and South America need a new pro/reg system and Europe top leagues like premier or laliga need a SIMPLE playoff system.
    Mr.rocco just get cosmos to MLS and flex your money, garber will love that.

  6. So much talk, he should have join Beckham in Miami for MLS or just buy Red Bull. Let’s be honest, the cosmos name still has recognition around the soccer world but its diminishing little by little with the galaxy, Nycfc and LAFC and Miami will make huge world statement for MLS.
    But if cosmos ever make it to MLS, with a serious rich owner, then cosmos will always be the top destination for a player like Messi or chicharito. History speaks for itself rocco but first join MLS.

    • No he’s not, there’s not enough money from rich people in the US to make it happen. Remember MLS is going versus NFL, NBA,NHL,MLB and NCAA.
      One system that can work in the MLS is to reserve spots in each conference for the new team coming up and never relegate an original MLS team.
      Let’s say MLS expands to 34 or 32 but reserves, 1 spot in each conference for the new team coming from MLS2.
      Ath end of the season, the team in the reserve spot of MLS1 will play the conference champion of MLS2.

      MLS1 west Reserve spot team vs MLS2 west conference champion
      MLS1 east reserve spot team vs MLS2 east conference
      Make it a home and away series and MLS2 closes series at home

      Remember no original MLS team will probably never go down, just have a reserve spot in each conference.

  7. FIFA rules establish that promotion and relegation happens based on sports merit. Not how much you can pay into the league or if your city is a league worthy city…Sports merit. That means a club earns the right to move to the next level on the pitch.

    To try and make the MLS like the other leagues will continue to breed a lack of creativity and competition which will damage the sports brand in the US for decades to come. American players will go elsewhere to get the push and training they want and deserve. Men and women are already doing it and are getting better by it if they can push to be as good as anyone in the world.

    He said what needed to be addressed and I hope America will wake up and listen to what’s being said. If we don’t it will be to the game’s peril.

  8. Usa soccer is a badly run joke. No wonder our National teams are mediocre..Concacafe tourney and USA host finish FOURTH though they were the home side.. Cosmos win Three of last four NASL crowns and still banned from promotion. MLS wants clubs to bribe their way to MLS….. ….Roma I believe backed Orlando and Man. City promoted NYC -FC… You need another team in LA like a hole in your head. No third Div. but TWO? second Div.. No wonder the Euro and L.Am. soccer -FB world regards USA soccer as a JOKE and retirement farm for washed up players from Europe etc………. Money offered to NPSL and NASL clubs to bribe them into joining PDL and USL.. No where else would such shenanigans be allowed from a National federation and member clubs. Only USA, Canada and Australia Lightweights in world wide FB -Soccer have No Promotion and relegation. What a Joke this is!!!

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